Friday, 14 August 2009

Neighbours - a social comment

I was staying at a friends a while back in their beautiful new home. It's in a development on what was Ipswich's war-time airport and in their back garden, I was struck by how isolating these spaces are.

Too much privacy?

Neighbours, Ipswich 2007

Some would say it's for privacy, and I guess that view has some merit. I just question the totality of it. I think that much more usual, and what I'm more used to, is hedges, low fences and walls, where you can still see your neighbour's space if you make a little effort—you know, crane your neck, trim the hedge, pick weeds out the wall. That way, it's still private, but not entirely off-cutting.

By this I mean that the out-of-sight, out-of-mind syndrone exists. You know, the SEP field generator used by Slarty Bartfast (Hitch-hikers Guide To The Galaxy) to hide his spaceship (SEP field—a field that works on the Somebody Else's Problem principle— if it's somebody else's problem, it hits your slippery-shouldered blind spot, where your subconscious knows it can safely ignore the existence of the thing and so you just don't see it).

So this image is a social comment about the slow destruction of real-world community by the treatment of people by large organisations as repeating homogeneous units, where one is the same as the next.

How you read the image is up to you—there's certainly heavy overtones of regimented uniformity; suppressed uniqueness, enforced uniformity—the way our personalities are wrapped up into little indistinguishable boxes.


comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)
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